This is a reaction to Bad-Astronomers’ post on faith and science.
I do not intend to prove you wrong. But there are other points of view – not particularly antagonistic to science – that are rarely heard.
I don’t think we have to split faith and science dualistically. When splitting like this takes place, the result is immediate polarization, and any attempt at communication breaks down into shaking fingers furiously at one another. Then, all anyone can do is shake harder…or make a fist and shake it, because that’ll show ‘em.
[Science is] a method, a way of finding this knowledge. Observe, hypothesize, predict, observe, revise. (emphasis mine)
Defining science as a method is well put. It amazes me how rarely people understand that concept, and in an ideal situation, anyone trumpeting under the banner of science would first have to submit to this method. Granted, I do not like talking about science totally in this way, merely because “submitting to the method” reminds me of some freaky cult – which isn’t science. Engineering, maybe, but not science.
Baseless insults to engineers aside, there stand at least two huge barriers in the way of finally putting an issue like this to rest. From the way I see things, the first problem is in the fact that both sides’ uppity-ness has little to do with the conclusions made and more so in the assumptions about the other party’s assumptions. (what an obnoxious sentence)
If a person has grown up in a spiritual culture that makes a big deal about the Earth being flat, and then a scientist comes along and points out that it is, indeed, round, that person’s entire life becomes shattered. So when Chuck Darwin started spending too much time looking at finches and comes to some astonishing ideas that result in even more astonishing conclusions, does that force any implications on others in a non-scientific realm?
Maybe – or maybe not – but the immediate knee-jerk by everyone opposing C-Dawg might indicate that they merely assumed an imposed-conclusion about their spirituality. Plus, if those who aren’t scientists feel threatened and want to respond to science-based claims with their own science, do they violate their existential integrity in doing so? I say yes. Scientists can say that humanity descended from purple boogers shot from the nose of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but to what degree would that effect the notions of spiritual revelation? And if I decide that it does effect my religion, am I still religious by attacking back with more science?
There’s the rub.
The second of the huge barriers I mentioned is the strange polarization that has come to plague our intellectual realm. The one point on which scientists and creationists seem to agree is that we must choose one or the other.
Why not both/and?
Scientists might say that using both/and violates the methods on which their work rests. Theologians (conservative Christian, typically) often say that without a literal 6-day creation, then systematic theology states that “faith in Jesus” suddenly reduces to vanity.
I think the problem is that I can at least understand what both sides are saying. Spiritually, I have gained more out of life than I would have thought possible (though that is not necessarily the goal), and yet my fingers tap-tap-tap on the keyboard of my MacBook Pro – a pinnacle of science (fan-boyism aside).
Westerners love the comfort of either/or.
Tension that comes from both/and can be unsettling.
But somehow I think that the both/and tension might be the best way to go…